Compositions of dikes and lavas from the Pito Deep Rift: Implications for crustal accretion at superfast spreading centers

Meagen A. Pollock, Emily M. Klein, Jeffrey A. Karson, Drew S. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The northwest trending walls of the Pito Deep Rift (PDR), a tectonic window in the southeast Pacific, expose in situ oceanic crust generated ∼3 Ma at the superfast spreading southern East Pacific Rise (SEPR). Whole rock analyses were performed on over 200 samples of dikes and lavas recovered from two ∼8 km2 study areas. Most of the PDR samples are incompatible-element- depleted normal mid-ocean ridge basalts (NMORB; (La/Sm)N < 1.0) that show typical tholeiitic fractionation trends. Correlated variations in Pb isotope ratios, rare earth element patterns, and ratios of incompatible elements (e.g., (Ce/Yb)N) are best explained by mixing curves between two enriched and one depleted mantle sources. Pb isotope compositions of most PDR NMORB are offset from SEPR data toward higher values of 207Pb/ 204Pb, suggesting that an enriched component of the mantle was present in this region in the past ~3 Ma but is not evident today. Overall, the PDR crust is highly variable in composition over long and short spatial scales, demonstrating that chemically distinct lavas and dikes can be emplaced within the same segment over short timescales. However, the limited spatial distribution of high 206Pb/204Pb samples and the occurrence of relatively homogeneous MgO compositions (ranging <2.5 wt %) within a few of the individual dive transects (over distances of ∼1 km) suggests that the mantle source composition evolved and magmatic temperatures persisted over timescales of tens of thousands of years. The high degree of chemical variability between pairs of adjacent dikes is interpreted as evidence for along-axis transport of magma from chemically distinct portions of the melt lens. Our findings suggest that lateral dike propagation occurs to a significant degree at superfast spreading centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberB03207
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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